Thanks to Jimmy von Weeks for his sterling job in writing Chasing Dogs and Sleeping Dogs for Australia. Without further ado, let’s look at those teams in the middle of the pack…

Sauber

Hello Sauber. Good to see you’re back. After last time out in Australia and then this performance in Malaysia they’ve just about managed to assuage my anger about early last season’s debacle.

This race, it wasn’t Sergio Perez who stole the limelight but, rather, his Japanese team mate, one Mr. Kamui Kobayashi.

kobayashi

After getting into the top 10 and qualifying…tenth, he managed to have a great scrap with Mark Webber’s (admittedly broken) Red Bull, stay out the longest of everyone and then make only two stops. Throw in another tangle with Michael Schumacher and he managed to come home in eighth place, later promoted to seventh after the Hamilton/Alonso stewardingmindwarp. He’s quietly turning into a driver other teams will be having a look at sooner rather than later.

Perez, by contrast, had a distinctly unwhelming weekend. Sixteenth in qualifying and then a retirement on lap 23, after a bit flew of Buemi’s Toro Rosso.

He’s clearly quick but, as with most rookie drivers, consistency is going to be an issue. Kobayashi will be a very good benchmark against which to monitor his progress.

Badger’s Best: Kobayashi

 

Mercedes

Is it me or is no-one really paying attention to Mercedes this season. They’re there, they’re doing their thing, it’s just no one really cares.

schumacherThis weekend, such as it was for the Mercedes team, was Schumacher’s. Although a problem in qualifying hindered his progress into the top 10 shootout, he managed to finish a respectable ninth. That still doesn’t hide the fact, however, that it’s not where he, Ross Brawn or Mercedes are used to finishing. Something isn’t quite right with the car and it needs fixing – quickly.

Rosberg got into the top 10, but endured a challenging race. He made it all the way through, but didn’t manage to score a point. How many times did we say that last season? Not many. At all. A bad start, a lack of pace and a general feeling that the car isn’t good enough. Will Nico ever get a good motor? He deserves it.

There’s a lot of chat about hard work at Mercedes – “work hard and the performance will come” seems to be their mantra. We’re sure an improvement in their performance won’t come without hard work, but it can’t be the only measure of performance. The Badger team could work really hard to build and design an F1 car, but it doesn’t mean it’d be any good…

Badger’s Best: Schumacher

 

Force India

Paul di Resta – he’s the besta. Or something. He out -qualified his team mate and finished ahead of him in the race: job very much done. Oh and he scored point. Job even more very much done.

diresta

Sutil did have an excuse during the grand prix in that he hit Rubens Barrichello and ended up needing a new front wing. Careless.

The more experienced German is going to have to start proving why he’s the team leader, or the young Scot is going to quickly dethrone him. As Martin Brundle is fond of saying “in F1 you’re either giving or receiving pressure”. At the moment, Sutil is very much on the receiving end.

Badger’s Best: di Resta


Toro Rosso

Not a brilliant weekend for Toro Rosso. Although they managed to qualify in twelfth and thirteenth, their decision to stop twice in the race with both drivers didn’t really pay off, given the fact they finished below their starting spots.

 

buemiBuemi managed to get himself a stop/go penalty, saying: “at my first pit stop, I had the impression that the pit lane speed limiter had not been engaged. I immediately pressed it again, which deactivated it, so I speeded in the pit lane and picked up a ten second stop-go penalty, which I felt was a bit severe, as usually you get a drive-through penalty which loses you less time.” How very odd. We’d imagined the limiter button as some deep red throbbing thing, much like the blowupallsortsofstuff buttons in Bond films. Obviously not.

That said, even after his penalty, he still finished in front of his team mate . Come on young Jaime, show us what you were doing last season!

Badger’s Best: Buemi


We complete our trawl through the drivers’ Malaysian performance tomorrow, following which, I, Benson Jammichello, will limber up for Chinese HRHD by doing all manner of strange stretches.

Driver character graphics provided by Unlap – purveyors of BadgerGP T-Shirts and more motor-sport themed threads